September 22, 2008

Adios Yeatman

As if the running game needed more problems to sort out, the news that Will Yeatman, the best blocking TE on the roster, was cited for underage drinking Saturday night likely spells his doom at the university. Now the greenest of positions - tight end - just got a little greener. Freshman Kyle Rudolph, while looking capable as a receiving TE, doesn't have the beef or the experience to handle run blocking right now. With the preseason loss of sophomore Mike Ragone, the Irish are hurting in the TE department. Freshman Joseph Fauria will likely get reps now as the backup. In a couple years, TE depth will be a strength, but not now.

There's a lot to be upset about with this story. Knee-jerk reactions can blame the Indiana Excise police for spending their time cracking down on student parties. While this is the specific purpose of the Excise force, there's a growing debate on campus of focusing police efforts on protecting these same students from recent city violence. There's also the debate as to why Notre Dame's strict punishment toward its student-athletes makes other schools look like detention halls. I, for one, support the University in this regard. Invariably, athletes littering the top 25 schools get into mischief, usually much worse than underage drinking. These athletes are typically given a slap on the wrist punishment, like missing the first two games, which hardly affect the team when they're playing St. Copious of North Nebraska. Notre Dame holds its student-athletes to a different standard. They say it and they back it up. These athletes know the drill when they enroll. As unfortunate as it was to lose Kyle McAlarney for a basketball season, it taught him a significant life lesson and he returned with a renewed sense of desire and appreciation for the Notre Dame way.
But the most perplexing question is why a starter, on probation mind you, put himself in this bad situation? Ultimately, it's Yeatman's responsibility to make better decisions. Washing the bad taste of the Spartan loss out of his mouth with a few beers wouldn't have been a problem if he had stayed in his dorm or hit up a low-key gathering. But Yeatman showed poor judgment going to an off-campus party where the threat of police involvement is always prevalent.
Will, we hardly knew ye. Godspeed wherever you land. In the words of your namesake (sort of) William Butler Yeats:

"And weary and worn are our sad souls now"

1 comment:

Doug said...

Maybe I'm just sensitive to the draconian measures of ND toward underage drinking, but I don't see what the big deal is. He was drinking at a party. He is in freaking college!! Is he not allowed to drink after a game??
Was I hallucinating when I saw half the football team drinking underage at the Boat Club after games when I was college?? I don't see how that is any different than drinking at a party.

I drank underage before and after every game in college. For me to say that Yeatman can't do the same would be incredibly hypocritical, so I don't have a problem with what he did. The only unfortunate thing about this incident is that he got caught. I know he is on probation, but I still don't see how a college kid drinking alcohol should be viewed as some sort of disgrace (which is how a lot of people seem to be treating it on NDNation).

Underage drinking is a fact of life in college. I personally don't think it should be illegal, and it is absolutely ludicrous that cities are using city resources to enforce underage drinking laws when there are thugs and gang members running rampant in these cities.

I hope ND gives Yeatman another chance. I could understand giving him the boot for awhile if it was another DUI, but an underage drinking ticket is nothing. Half the school ends up getting on those.

ND's treatment of Kyle McAlarney was complete garbage if you ask me, and I'm just glad that he decided to come back to ND after getting absolutely screwed by the administration.